Perry to meet with GOP leaders in South Carolina
August 5th, 2011
03:40 PM ET
7 years ago

Perry to meet with GOP leaders in South Carolina

(CNN) - Rick Perry is set to meet privately with dozens of grassroots Republican activists when he visits the crucial early primary state of South Carolina next week, another sign that the Texas governor is taking steps to join the 2012 presidential race.

Perry will be in Charleston next Saturday to address the RedState Gathering, a conservative conference featuring appearances by Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Jim DeMint.

It will be Perry's first appearance in an early caucus or primary state since he began exploring the possibility of a White House bid earlier this summer, ensuring that his speech will garner media attention even as the rest of the political universe descends on Iowa that same day for the Ames Straw Poll.

But the governor is also planning to do some behind-the-scenes legwork in a state likely to play a major role in his nomination strategy if he runs.

Perry backers in South Carolina have reached out to nearly 100 GOP leaders - every county-level Republican Party chairman, members of the state GOP Executive Committee and some tea party activists - to invite them to a closed-door meet-and-greet with the governor.

"It was pitched as a very informal opportunity for us, as leaders of the party, to meet the governor," said Rich Bolen, chairman of the Lexington County Republican Party.

The meetings are being arranged by former South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson and Republican strategist Walter Whetsell, both of whom were among the clutch of operatives who left former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's sputtering campaign in June.

Dawson and Whetsell have since maintained ties with their fellow former Gingrich aides Dave Carney and Rob Johnson, two of Perry's most trusted political confidantes who are now helping the governor lay the groundwork for a potential campaign.

Dawson said they are setting up the South Carolina meetings in "a volunteer capacity" because there is not yet an official Perry campaign.

"We are certainly encouraging the governor to run and are trying to help him make that decision and we think he would be extremely successful," Dawson said. "We want these party leaders to have a chance to meet Gov. Perry before he makes his final decision to run for president."

Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry • South Carolina
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. alleygator

    Can't wait to find out what sordid skeletons Perry's got in his closet.

    August 5, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. carlos

    it says enough of this guy if he is meeting the two dumbasses in this article,he should go back to texas and roast like the rest of his fellow texans, at least those who support him, hehehehe....and he certatinly does not look like presidential material......not even his praying will help him........

    August 5, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. dannytelevision

    South Carolina flies the stars and bars. So proud to be traitors!

    August 5, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    If Perry's running, he'd better hurry up and put on his running shoes. The next rounds of debates are coming. He would do the country a genuine disservice to join the race after many significant debates have passed.

    Republicans run most of their state primaries very differently from Democats. Republicans have a "winner takes all" system of awarding delegates, while Democrats split the delegate according to percentage of votes. The Republican system tilts the field towards whomever can do well in the initial states' primaries because someone can build an imposing lead in the first few Tuesdays.

    Recall that this is what McCain did in 2008. Naturally, this has the effect of concentrating power into the hands of few, which is consistent with the conservative ideology of centralized power.

    August 5, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. zip

    Li'l Ricky is Sarah Palin without the skirt.

    August 5, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Another ignorance-worshipping intellectual midget from TX, per his A&M transcripts:

    C in U.S. HISTORY
    D in Shakespeare
    C in gym (how do you manage that without being a lazy turd? It's freekin GYM class)
    D in veterinary anatomy
    F in a second course on organic chemistry
    C in animal breeding

    The last 3 were even for his major.

    August 5, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It appears to me that they are intent on building up Perry as their Great White Hope Redux. This is most interesting considering that anyone can see that Huntsman's got a lot more on the ball and in his resume than this overblown cartoon character that could not even fill a QUARTER of a stadium for a much publicized PRAYER session to save what's left of his Ameriku so that he could steal, err,deal it out to his wealthy masters.

    August 5, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. jk from MN

    Just what the country needs – another wing-nut entry into the GOP race.

    August 5, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    Perhaps Perry (and others) can be encouraged to tone down the rhetoric for a bit? Too much hot air being circulated from one GOPer district to another GOPer district isn't good for the environment ... witness one heat wave after another we've had all summer long, even as far up north as we in Minnesota have been experiencing. No doubt OUR heat wave can be directed at all the GOPers/TeaPers coming to Wisconsin to save Walker's reputation - and there are a great many of them - all sticking their nose where it doesn't belong. Apparently praying the heat away isn't working. Perhaps just shutting up and carrying on with their elected jobs will.

    August 5, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Sen Demint: "Gooberner Perry, meet Gooberner Haley."

    Demint gained national fame for his "You lie!" outburst during the State of the Union speech. What every media outlet has overlooked about that outburst is that he had shouted it at least twice. He was heard because the all voices had suddenly fell silent. Demint can be hard shouting, "You lie!" among dozens of voices a few seconds before he was heard shouting alone. I challenge any media outlet with the tape to play it back and listen closely to the 30 seconds prior to when he was clearly heard shouting alone.

    August 5, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. DIANA

    Maybe while he's gone the heat wave in Texas will finally be over. Now that he won't be there to spew his hot air. If he loses the Presidential race, will he threaten to secede again?

    August 5, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Randel Tony

    He will be the most ugly man with brick face who do not understand what the world is and he stucked with his horse in the mud. He has been saying to seprate his Texas, what happened. He was praying the rain to come what happened .Simply he is one of those useless failure who can not even pass his class with C, let alone undersatnd the webpolitics of the world. Please tell heim let he clean his nose with his shirt infront of his wife if he has. ome people suspect of his gender LOL

    August 5, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Perry wanting to be President, the same Perry who wanted "Texas to sucede" when the going gets too tough for him, his answer is to cut and run. Perry didn't consider our U.S. our troops dying and fighting in the Middle East, he didn't care that many troops from Texas died and were wounded in war because they don't cut and run. Perry is unfit to be Governor and certainly is unfit to lead our Nation and our US military, because he believes in getting on his horse and riding out of town. And to hold a religious pray meeting, how convenient for Perry to pick up religion when he needs it and rob blessings he receives from above by paying $90(ninety) a year in tides.

    August 5, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Four who gave a rather generic GOPer statement concerning the unemployed unable find jobs in this particular economy.

    The reason that you (masquerading as a small business owner who has, on occasion, employed others) are forced to compete with the government paid unemployed (your words, not mine) rather than choosing instead to employ those whose benefits have already run out escapes me.

    August 5, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. thomas

    In the Bush White House, Enron Chair Ken Lay reportedly is the only executive who got a private audience to discuss the administration�s energy policy with Vice President Dick Cheney. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Curt Hebert also resigned shortly after he said that Lay told him that he would lose Enron�s support in the White House if he kept opposing open access to privately owned power lines. Bush promptly replaced Hebert with Texas Public Utility Commis-sioner Pat Wood, who had Enron�s blessing.

    Governor Rick Perry, who received the next largest chunk of Enron money, appointed former Enron de Mexico President Mario Max Yzaguirre as Public Utility Commission chair in June 2001.

    The only other Texas politician to clear $100,000 in Enron money in the last two election cycles is Attorney General John Cornyn. A Cornyn spokesperson has said that his office is studying what response�if any�it will have to Enron�s massive fraud of its investors, which includes state pension funds.5 In contrast, Attorney General Bill Lockyer of blackout-bitten California said in May, �I would love to personally escort Lay to an 8 x 10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, �Hi, my name is Spike, honey.��

    Perry/Enron 2012

    August 5, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Mack

    The guy who did not want to be part of the US now wants to be president???

    August 5, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. The Greedy Old Pigs have lost their minds!

    The GOBPbaggers' Great White Dope has to reassure the teatards he's a fellow corrupt corporatist cult member. It's pretty funny to think a bunch of phony "christians" will be hanging on Perry's every word to ensure he's as phony a "christian" as they are.

    August 5, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. lynn

    Poor Perry, he needs a rearview mirror. Does he or anyone else really think another Texas governor could move to the White House, regardless if he walks on water. Thank Bush for that legacy.

    August 5, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. John

    Rick Perry wanted Texas to Secede from the Union,the man should be In Jail for treason. Not running for President. This man Is UNAMERICAN as the come. Only fool would vote for this man.

    August 5, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. NVa Native

    It's bad enough that they don't speak English, but they're proud of their ignorance.

    August 5, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. bb

    Perry.......You GOPers aren't satisfied with the competent and qualified. You have to go for the absurd, lunatic cowboys every single time...

    August 5, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. Me

    We've already had a yee-haw President from Texas. That didn't work out so well. We don't need another one. Especially one that will say "Yee-haw! How's my hair?"

    August 5, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. ART

    We should all pray now for a sign, and pray the stupid away from all Republicans

    August 5, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Dem Lover

    It was not Jim DeMint that shouted "you lie!" It was Joe Wilson. And if we're going to point out that Gov. Perry wanted to take Texas out of this great country, let's all learn to spell the word secede – s e c e d e, as in secessation.

    August 5, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. Marie MD

    This is more likely for the secessionist. More his style of state backwards SC.
    He and the AK PWT family should all be tried for treason!

    August 5, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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